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08/17/2019, 23:17, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH




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THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
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(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)

„Goodbye, Rainer“

Author: Sabrina Zehetner (TVP)

(02/14/2018)
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"I am faithful to memories forever; to people I shall never be faithful"

The countless (1539!) as well as entertaining letters Freud sent to Martha Bernay still enjoy great popularity after their publication in 2011. They shed some light on a different side of Freud that didn’t quite correspond to the popular image. Here, the usually so serious psychoanalyst flirts, compliments and woos his beloved. 

Judging from the correspondence between Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé, Rilke was in no way inferior to Freud when it came to intense wooing.  In 1897, the 35-year old Lou Andreas-Salomé met Rainer Maria Rilke who was 14 years her junior during her studies in Munich. The love relationship that arose inspired different interpretations.  Without a doubt, the letters reveal a mutual admiration for each other.

Even before they met for the first time, Rilke had put Salomé on a pedestal that was difficult to step down from. While this seemingly one-sided dynamic intensified their relationship, their love was, at times, one-sided and toxic. Anyone who reads the letters may notice that Rilke’s work and mental health took the center stage while Salomé almost seems to act as a projection screen for the artists and doesn’t get recognized much beyond this projection.  This quickly developing emotional dependence greatly disturbed Lou Andreas-Salomé who reacted with reserve and distance to his unbridled worship. Despite that, her influence on him didn’t falter. Her critique regarding his poetic exaggerations prompted him to change his first name – the romantic sounding “René” soon turned into “Rainer”.

For the poet, the intellectual psychoanalyst was a never-ending source of inspiration – Salomé acquainted him with Nietzsche and Russian culture and language. Later, Freud would say that, to Rilke, Salomé was a “muse and caring mother” since Rilke was a troubled individual, with regards to himself and his interpersonal relationships. At the time, Salomé was in a rather unorthodox relationship with the Iranologist Friedrich Carl Andreas. After her travels with Rilke to Russia, she severed all contact with Rilke until, due to Rilke’s insistence, she slowly started to resume contact. 

In her opinion, this tough love was a necessary measure as she was aware of Rilke’s unstable condition, which perhaps required a confident and strong woman like Salomé who was capable of dealing with and evading this kind of toxic instability.  Eventually, she vehemently refused to psychoanalytically treat Rilke. Yet- or precisely because of the insurmountable obstacles – their friendship would last until Rilke’s death.


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